England will be looking to make it five wins from five in Euro 2016 qualifying when they host Lithuania at Wembley on Friday evening.Roy Hodgson‘s side have been perfect so far in Group E and hold a six-point lead over Slovenia, Switzerland and Lithuania. They are one of only four teams with 100% records in qualifying and will be expected to preserve that record in their first-ever senior meeting with Lithuania. Much of the focus will be on Hodgson’s team selection and whether Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane is rewarded for his fantastic club form with a first international cap.
Harry Kane’s “incredible season” will reach a new high with an England debut this week, Roy Hodgson has confirmed. The Tottenham striker earned a first senior call-up on the back of 29 goals at club level in his first campaign as a regular first-team player. Hodgson would not be drawn on his selection plans for Wembley or Tuesday’s friendly in Italy, but he did say Kane would be returning to White Hart Lane as a full international.
“We’re very happy with Harry,” the England manager told the media at his Thursday press conference. “I can certainly say he’s not in any way damaged his chances of playing, and I’m pretty sure over the course of these two games we’ll see him make his debut.”
“But I’m not prepared to give my selection away and when that is, people will have to wait and see.”
Hodgson was equally coy on his other selection dilemmas but did hint that Liverpool’s Raheem Sterling and James Milner of Manchester City – both carrying injury niggles – may be allowed to return to their clubs for after Friday’s game.
“We haven’t decided upon that yet,” he said. “Raheem is an obvious case, there’s another one with James Milner, who’s been playing for quite a long while with a knee problem.
“Both of them have done well in training this week, they played through it just like they have been playing through it with their clubs but there are people, those are two examples, that we’re going to have a serious look at.”
“In Raheem’s case, in particular, I think he needs some specific treatment and, who knows, the wise thing might be to let him go and give someone else a chance.”
Hodgson has decisions to make in a number of areas of his side after the likes of Harry Kane, Kyle Walker, Ryan Mason and Kieran Gibbs either returned from injury or were called up for the first time.
“I think there are a lot of tight decisions and I welcome those tight decisions,” said Hodgson.
“If we are going to progress as a team and get better we need competition in all areas.It was good to see Kyle coming back having missed a lot of time through injury, as well as the two centre-backs (Chris Smalling and Phil Jones) who have missed matches this season. It is terrific to see them doing so well.”
“The competition for places is hotting up.”
Probable Line-up (4-2-3-1): Joe Hart(Gk); Leighton Baines, Chris Smalling, Gary Cahill, Nathaniel Clyne; Michael Carrick, Jordan Henderson; Raheem Sterling, Wayne Rooney, Danny Welbeck; Harry Kane